Planterra Foods, the Lafayette, Colorado-based unit of meat giant JBS USA and subsidiary of Sao Paulo, Brazil headquartered JBS S.A., is the latest maker of plant-based protein products to enter the North American faux meat retail market. It is also offering a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform in heralding the introductory rollout of OZO Ground (12 oz), Mexican-Seasoned Ground (12 oz) and Burgers (two-4 oz patties), just in time for the summer outdoor grilling season.
Made without artificial ingredients and soy-free, the OZO range is certified vegan by BeVeg and non-GMO. The main ingredient is an exclusive proprietary blend of pea and rice protein fermented by shiitake mushrooms.
All OZO products boast up to 22 grams per serving, contain no cholesterol and have fewer calories, fat and saturated fat than 80% lean ground beef, as well as other leading plant-based protein brands currently in the marketplace, according to the producer. It adds that pea protein is a solid source of iron, and has been known to aid in muscle growth, weight loss and heart health.
Aiming to set itself apart from competitors, Planterra Foods utilizes a fermentation process that makes OZO offerings easily digestible for the body. Its high-quality pea and rice protein relies on the fermentation of shiitake mycelia (root) to create a nutritionally rich product that enhances taste and minimizes flavor impact, while improving digestibility.
The company was initially planning to introduce OZO in March at Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim, California, but decided to pull out of the trade show due to growing concerns around the potential spread of novel coronavirus and the Covid-19 pandemic. The Expo was ultimately canceled by the organizer.
“We pride ourselves in being an approachable plant-based brand and OZO is made simply. We are focused on feeding future generations and especially those looking to flex the variety of proteins they bring to the table,” said CEO Darcey Macken. “Our goal is to grow flexitarian consumption through offering a positive protein solution for everyone.”
Packed in recyclable trays and cartons, the OZO product line ranges in retail price from $5.99 to $7.99. An expansive coast-to-coast curbside sampling tour has been kicked off with free burgers, individually wrapped and ready to eat, distributed by mobile vans.